HC asks Govt to constitute committee to run affairs of Gurudawaras
Row over finances of Srinagar Gurudawaras
Srinagar: Seeking an end to allegations of financial misappropriations by rival Sikh groups in Gurudwaras in Srinagar, the High Court today directed the government to constitute a suitable committee to run their affairs.
“With a view to run the day today administration and management of Sikh Gurduwaras of district Srinagar, the government shall come out with an appropriate notification in terms of Rule 63-C of the Rules of 1975, constituting/nominating suitable Gurduwara Prabhandhak Committee within a period of four weeks from today”, directed Justice Sanjeev Kumar.
Justice Kumar advised that the committee has to be of some independent persons having no affiliation with the rival factions litigating in the courts of law.
“The persons should be of high integrity”, he suggested.
Justice Kumar said, “The position that emerges is that there is no validly constituted/nominated Gurduwara Prabhandhak Committee in district Srinagar in existence as on date”.
The committee is continuing in office because of the interim direction passed in a writ petition and an interim order of 2020.
Referring to the Jammu & Kashmir Sikh Gurduwaras & Religious Endowment Act of 1973, Justice Kumar said “there is no elected/nominated Gurduwara Prabhandhak Committee in the district of Srinagar in existence and the petitioners in WP(C) 1762/2021 are, unauthorizedly continuing in office”.
The petitioners have leveled the allegation of misappropriation of funds by the members of the committee elected in 2015. They say the members are holding over even after the expiry of their term and extension granted to their term by the impugned notification.
Without delving in to the dispute between the rival factions the court disposed off the petitions and called for constitution of a new committee.
“The administration and management of Sikh Gurduwaras all over the Union Territory of J&K, in particular in district Srinagar, cannot be kept in limbo and, therefore, a constitution/nomination of Sikh Gurduwara Prabhandhak Committee, Srinagar, is inevitable”, directed the court.
It said that with a view to run the day today administration and management of Sikh Gurduwaras of district Srinagar, the government shall come out with an appropriate notification.
The court minced no words in pronouncing “none of the litigants should be nominated to the Prabhandhak Committee”.
“It shall be advisable if the Government constitutes a committee of some independent persons having no affiliation with the rival factions litigating in the Courts of law and such persons are persons of high integrity”, advised the court.
It said “the Government shall do well to appoint some retired District & Sessions Judge or an officer, serving or retired, of the rank of not less than an Additional District Magistrate to head the committee”.